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Financial Literacy

How to Protect Yourself from Skimmers, Scammers, and Fraud

person in a black hoodie and a question mark over their face sits at a laptop in front of a wall of numbers

The greatest danger to your finances isn’t your bad spending habits, it’s identity theft.

The greatest danger to your finances isn’t your bad spending habits, it’s identity theft. As technology advances to protect your accounts from scammers and thieves, so do their methods of gaining access to your personal information. Let’s talk about the three major ways identity thieves operate and how to protect yourself.

ATM Skimmers

We all do our best to make sure our debit and credit cards and PIN numbers are safe and secure, but sometimes even our best safety measures fail. ATM skimming is one of the latest high tech ways identity theft is impacting banking customers.

ATM skimmers are devices placed directly onto ATMs to copy information from your magnetic strip and record your PIN information. Luckily, EMV chips have been added to most banking and credit cards to reduce the risk of this kind of identity theft, but you can never be too careful! To check to see if your ATM has been tampered with, take a close look at your card reader and keypad. Often, the overlayed device will be slightly movable with a simple tug on the reader or keypad.

Online Phishing & Scams

Be suspicious of emails and messages online that request your account information. Even if the email looks like it comes from a legitimate source, it could actually be a phishing scam. Avoid clicking on embedded links and entering your personal information to a source that you don’t already know and trust.

Facebook is another way scammers are gathering personal information from unsuspecting people. If you receive a message from a “friend” suspiciously requesting a money transfer, try to contact that person through other means to confirm it’s them. Facebook accounts are hacked frequently.

Fraud from Online Shopping

With the ease of online shopping, it’s tempting to shell out your credit card information to make a purchase online. It’s up to you to make sure you’re shopping at trusted sources and taking security measures to make sure your information is protected.

Keep your computer up to date with anti-virus software, only make purchases on a secured network, and make sure you use strong account passwords anytime you enter your information. Don’t forget, the same safety precautions should be taken when shopping on a mobile device too!

How Highlands Can Help

Even when we take measures to protect ourselves, sometimes identity theft is unavoidable. With the banking tools that we provide our customers, you should be able to spot and shut down identity theft quickly.

Use our online and mobile banking apps to keep an eye on your account balances and transactions. If you see something fishy, call your closest branch to find out next steps. You can also take advantage of our SecurLock Equip app that allows you to turn off your cards if you suspect foul play.

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